Leading the charge is Boy Kevin Martin, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, which he believes to be his own personal hackery.
Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, the victim du jour is you.
Martin’s trying to push through more deregulation; allowing corporations in nearly all major cities to own TV and radio stations and newspapers in the same market.
He wrote off criticism from Congress as bipartisan politics and said that he was “not convinced that we would ever reach a consensus on media ownership.”
Kev, ever think there’s good reason for that? But I digress….
Even a threat by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) to investigate some of the improprieties uncovered by the dreaded General Accounting Office on Martin’s leaks to certain media companies and trade groups failed to deter the Boy Kevster.
Martin refuses to admit that he broke any rules. He was just passing along inside information to those companies and groups so they could get their lobbying efforts in order. It always helps to know which palms need to be greased and when. What’s so bad about that?
Face it. When was the last time you heard of the corrupt being prosecuted and convicted in Washington anyway?
If there’s one thing those Bushoid Republicans can’t stand, it’s democracy.
Even our beer drinkin’, hell raisin’ Fumbles had the NAB launching a “defend Kevvie” campaign, though the latter considers the former a mess in a dress. It’s probably the only thing I’d ever agree with the Kevster on.
Those backing the Kev claim the need for more flexibility and rule relaxing and anything less critically jeopardizes its competitive fight with new media. It’s a weak argument considering radio and TV are free media and the alleged new media competition they’re whining about isn’t.
How to survive in Washington? Never confuse anyone with the facts.
Times and technology have changed and there are old rules that should no longer apply in this brave new world – but the issues and solutions are not as black and white as Martin claims.
Personally, I liked the ethically-impaired Martin’s raison d'être for pushing through more deregulation. He claims the major chains are truly concerned for the smaller station chains and the few remaining independent owners, whose backs, they claim, would be crushed by the costs and paperwork that would come with increased regulation.
In their world, clusters surrounding and squeezing an independent radio station for ad revenue, has nothing to do with the ability for those stations to survive.
Just a couple of weeks back, the Senate Commerce Committee fired off a message to Kev declaring its unanimous endorsement of a bill, which would oblige the FCC to address localism and minority ownership before acting on larger media ownership rules.
Martin’s a cockroach. His earth gets scorched and he’s still standing. His cross-ownership campaign should’ve been dead by now, but it isn’t. Kev got his way and lived to see another day when Sam Zell got his Tribune waiver – and that waiver is proving to be a game plan that could fall Kevvie’s way should the deregulation stalemate end up in court.
In his world, wrong is the new right.
Some claim Martin may try to turn his FCC deregulation proposal into a swap meet. Give me what I want and I’ll throw you a bone. Maybe. Maybe not.
He could claim he’ll acquiesce on re-regulation of stations for the option of having companies prove that they’re acting in the public interest and creating a “live operator” rule, a nonsensical, unenforceable rule that stations must have at least the stink of one live human being operator on duty at all times.
The chains, of course, will claim poverty, insisting that would add even more work to overworked and underpaid program directors who are already overseeing multiple stations (not to mention those well-listened to HD Radio stations) – sometimes in multiple markets – and that the bulk of the grunt work will fall on them.
So it’s everyone else’s problem that these companies abided by the greater fool theory and significantly overpaid for their radio properties?
Let ‘em eat smoke from a distant fire sale.
Then there’s that pesky rumor leaking out of Martin’s office about foreign ownership – or at the very least, foreign investment in U.S. broadcast media.
Maybe he’ll play swap meet on that deal, too, and settle for allowing U.S. stations to hire Baahir, Bhumin, and Bandhu from Bangalore to voice-track.
That’s a joke. I think.